Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth A. Ripley, President & Chief
Executive Officer, Mat-Su Health Foundation
Elizabeth Ripley arrived in Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough with a vision to build upon its community strengths and make it a healthier place to live. Today, as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF), she leads initiatives to do just that. The MSHF has developed a comprehensive, asset-based strategy to improve health outcomes, focusing on the areas of greatest concern to the community itself.
In a unique structure, MSHF owns 35 percent and controls 50 percent of board seats at the forprofit Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, the region’s sole community hospital. Under Elizabeth’s leadership, the foundation is strategically combining hospital governance with philanthropy and advocacy to create lasting, systemic change.
The foundation invests its share of hospital profits into grants and initiativesto improve population health. It has also leveraged millions of dollars in investments from state and national funders and built statewide political support through its policy advocacy work. Guided by community input, MSHF targets five focus areas: expanding the continuum of care for behavioral health services, improving services and supports for the state’s fastest-growing senior population, helping children and families thrive, meeting the foundational needs of Mat-Su residents, and growing the healthcare workforce to support the fastest growing sector of the economy. The foundation’s approach is informed by data and measured to assess impact.
Prior to working for the Mat-Su Health Foundation, Elizabeth held numerous positions in the healthcare industry, including hospice, volunteer management, marketing, hospital foundation development, and hospital administration. She has served on the board of directors of The Foraker Group and Philanthropy Northwest and currently serves on the board of directors of Grantmakers in Health. She was recognized by the Alaska Public Health Association with its long-term service award in 2014, presented with a YWCA Women of Achievement award in 2016, and given an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2021. Elizabeth earned a bachelor’s degree in English and communications from Western Maryland College and a Master of Arts in religion from Yale Divinity School.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Gail Myers, Co-founder Farms to Grow, Inc.
Dr. Gail Myers is a Cultural Anthropologist, with a doctorate from The Ohio State University. While a student at OSU, she organized the first statewide conference for African American Farmers, Sustaining Communities: African American Farmers at the Crossroads. In 2004, Dr. Myers co-founded Farmsto Grow, Inc. in Oakland, CA to work in partnership with African American farmers and ranchers and other under-resourced producers. Farms to Grow, Inc. initiated the Freedom Farmers Market, an African American based farmers market, in West Oakland, CA in 2013. Dr. Gail maintains a wide spectrum of grassroots organizing and coalition building, locally and globally. In 2018, she received the Advocate for Social Justice Award “Justie” from the Eco-Farm Association. Dr. Gail advocates for, researches, and writes about African American Farming. She is also currently finishing a documentary/multi-media project, “Rhythms of the Land,” which will be screened in 2022. She is passionate about the legacy of Black farmers, Black agrarian material culture, and racial justice.
Learn more at www.farmstogrow.com
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